July 4, 2004

The time has come to resume monthly newsletters. Our goal is the creation and sustenance of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and the elevation to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation all along the route. This newsletter tries to represent the point of view of the patriots who respected Washington and Rochambeau, the ones who, if alive, would be working with us to honor them.

Here is another excellent site for cultural information on the American Revolution.

It is time to Rise and Shine!

A gentleman of considerable kidney was General Prescott, commanding the British army in Newport in June of 1777. The British occupation of Newport found it a thriving port but held it a shuttered town where nobody dared laugh… not at least until the news got out that some creative Americans had captured General Prescott in his underwear. Seems a young officer by the name of Major William Barton was one of a host of American warriors whose refusal to fight by the book was always causing the British acute pains. He learned that Prescott was disposed to visiting a certain house some five miles above Newport, on the west road, about a mile from shore. The General, being discreet, didn’t take many men with him when he was a romancing.

Major Barton got permission for the mission and five whaleboats. Barton asked for volunteers for a secret expedition against the enemy. He only wanted forty, but the whole regiment stepped forward. Thus the young Major had his pick and his selections ran strongly to the type who was more at home in a boat than on land.

Muffled oars drove the five whaleboats boats silently through the night past the British ships the Lark, the Diamond and the Juno, a-swing at their anchors. Soon they were landed and the rest was easy. The raiding party surrounded the house, silenced the sentry and went in to take the General. Barton found the General sitting on the side of his bed, peeled neked in just his night shirt. When told to rise and shine he asked to be allowed to put on his regimentals but Barton refused since time was pressing. T’was a pleasing sight for the American warriors to see the half neked British General hopping barefooted through the blackberry bushes.

A Tory poet later writ this rise and shine warning tune for Sir William Howe.
“Awake, awake, Sir Billy,
There’s forage on the plain.
Come leave your little filly
And open the campaign!”

Sir Billy never did open the campaign. So he also was unprepared and had to be replaced by General Clinton. Finally, it was again too late for General Cornwallis when the French cannonade bellowed out a final “rise and shine” at Yorktown.

So now me hearties the time is arising to get prepared for the legislation to be passed for the W3R in 2005. It is time to prepare so when our Congress says, “rise and shine” we and the National Park Service, won’t be caught with our pants down too!

The Connecticut Society of the Cincinnati has given the Bolton Historical Society a grant to sound the wakeup call for the final phase of the W3R campaign. The Bolton alert has been sounded and now is the time for all good countrymen to come support the W3R. Bolton Democratic State Central Committeewoman Pat Morianos has informed us that Congressman John B. Larson has already agreed to champion the final legislation in 2005 just as he successfully championed the W3R study in 2000. The Connecticut Democratic delegation is also being mobilized. Bolton Republican State Representative Pam Sawyer informed us that the Republicans are also being mobilized. Both major presidential candidates are also being contacted.

Since this an election year, Congress will end its session early in October to campaign. This then is our opportunity to campaign in each state and put the W3R on the radar screen so we can pass the national trail legislation in 2005. We would like the presidential and legislative candidates to take positions by October 2, when we will hold a Heritage Day event in Bolton. We will need the NPS to issue their last two reports soon. We will need to contact our congressional delegates in every state along the W3R, and with any luck, we may have them committed for a possible kick-off meeting on Oct 2, in Bolton, CT. Please pass this urgent word along.

We welcome all re-enactors to join us in Bolton on October 2 when the 2nd Regt Light Dragoons will escort us on a short W3R march and a visit of Camp 5.

What we must prepare to do next.
A National Park Service (NPS) comprehensive management plan (CMP) and an environmental impact statement (EIS) are due out soon. This is what we stakeholders should expect for the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R) National Historic Trail (NHT).

It is unthinkable that the NPS’s EIS could be anything other than a very positive environmental report. However, stakeholders must respond in numbers to the CMP to demonstrate our acute interest in the success of the W3R NHT because we will be expected to become partners. This is an example of the type of CMP we need to support for the W3RNHT.

A public-private Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Partnership Organization (W3R PO) needs to be formed to collaborate with the NPS on preserving and interpreting the route and its resources. This organization would also work closely with each of the congressional delegations and local support organizations from each of the nine states on the route. The PO’s members would be known and recommended by the individual state congressional delegation members, state legislators, and town councils to ensure accountability to the elected federal, state and local representatives.

The Cooperative Management System (CMS) for the W3R NHT
The CMS provides the framework for volunteers, W3R PO staff and public land-management agency professionals, acting as partners, to manage historical, cultural, and scenic resources as integral components of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail.

State and local support organizations develop resource management policies in their local management plans and, where appropriate, identify actions for the protection and enhancement of natural, cultural, and scenic resources within their trail sections. W3R PO will serve as a guarantor to public-agency landowners to ensure that reasonable stewardship standards are met.

With federal designation, the story of the march is told consistently along the marked historic route and linked to larger network of thematically related American Revolution sites and resources. A cooperative NHT management system needs to be implemented. State and local efforts are supported to achieve improved resource protection, commemoration, and interpretation. Educational resources are linked to the W3R NHT website. Consistent signage relating to the route and other network resources is established with local variants of interpretation established along the route. Sites and resources that are designated trail components are eligible for federal technical and financial support.

For example the Town of Bolton acquired Camp 5 and would continue to manage it with suggestions and support from the NPS and W3R PO so that Bolton could have at hand the synergistic resources and influences of the entire organization. Likewise every local organization would be off-loading the work of the NPS and taking responsibility for their area or cluster of areas while enjoying the strength of the entire organization to coordinate the activities, maintenance, and upgrades along the entire trail.

Management prescriptions are used to specify the desired resource conditions for different segments of the trail. They describe the anticipated visitor experiences based on resource management concerns. These prescriptions can also be used to ensure a diversity of experiences for trail visitors. There are two types of management prescriptions: trail-wide and zone-specific prescriptions.

  • Trail-wide management prescriptions apply to a particular resource wherever it occurs along the entire trail corridor. These prescriptions establish detailed resource and experience goals for each distinct region along the trail, and help to ensure a diversity of appropriate visitor experiences. The management zones are part of the prescriptive process that specifies desired future conditions rather than existing conditions. The management zones for the W3R NHT are defined by significant differences among the various zones including: unique heritage, geology, flora and fauna, population levels, land use, proximity to visitor accommodations and attractions, and level of development.
  • Management prescriptions by zone are described in three categories: trail condition, support facilities, and visitor experience. Based on the physical characteristics of the area, and the viewpoints of the community in each area, these prescriptions guide the management of each district into the future.
    1. Trail Condition refers to utilizing local and traditional materials, shaded areas, and following original pristine and semi-isolated route segments, where known. Loop trails could be located in regions such as NY where engagements or reconnaissance took place. It includes finding opportunities for facilities and trail surfaces compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Trails should have a moderate level of solitude to reflect on the events. Historic trail sections are maintained and clear of vegetation. It would provide a moderate level of hiker comfort based on expected use levels and facility development. Historic trail sections are maintained at a high quality level. Connector trails are developed in a colonial design style. Trail through urban areas is clearly marked on paved sections.
    2. One centrally located visitor support center with connecting museum is provided in each participating state. It provides information for the entire route and is associated with a community that has played a major active roll in establishing the W3R in that state.

For example, Bolton, Connecticut is one such community. Bolton is located centrally in Connecticut and Bolton’s community launched the initial W3R study legislation in 2000 and is launching the final 2005 legislation. In 2000 Bolton also successfully acquired and preserved the first W3R encampment, the100 acre Camp 5, for $1.3 million. Other smaller support facilities should also be sited at nodes of expected moderate visitation. Lebanon, Hartford, and Wethersfield in Connecticut as well as every preserved encampment directly along the route should have a facility to fully describe the encampment, meetings and other W3R activities at the site. Facilities are developed in partnership with local support organizations.

Visitor experience recognizes the existence and importance of multiple alignments in traditional trail use. The aim is to provide a visitor experience that, in areas, accurately depicts the route and influence of the French and American allies, as it varies through the communities the trail crosses, and, to provide facilities, where appropriate. It would also allow long distance hiking if and when substantial continuous segments of the trail and intercepting green paths have been certified as open to the public as part of the W3R National Historic Trail. It provides a wide range of visitor experiences. It would allow some multi-modal use land and water routes. These alignments include inland portions of trails that run parallel to the shoreline, and connect these routes with historic water routes and historic as well as modern greenway trails that exist today. This alternative provides deeper realization of the traditional use of trails and effectively enhances the visitor experience including boat travel.

Here is a new term… historic trail clusters.
This calls for restoration and certification of authentic historic trail segments first. By definition, many of these trail segments are pristine because the route had been abandoned. Markers would show the driving route between the clusters. This could eventually include the construction of non-historic connector trails that would result in a continuous trail. Certification priority would be on public lands and through agreements developed with willing public and private landowners.

For example in Bolton CT, Bailey road is on the National Register of Historic Places (NROHP) as well as Camp 5, but Bailey Road is a walking trail only. The driving path between Bolton Camp 5 and Bolton Camp 46 (in Andover) therefore takes Hop River Road and Steels Crossing Road and they would not be certified. The Camp 5 visitor center could be the hub of an historic trail cluster. It could include the W3R, a Boston Post Road segment, a Providence Post Road segment, the new Department of Environmental Protection Greenway along the abandoned 1848 railroad bed, and the Camps in Bolton and Andover as well as the original road segment to the home of Nathan Hale in Coventry.

The proposed management alternatives reflect the need for a coordinated approach that stresses cooperation among federal and state land management agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector. We suggest that the National Park Service have the major coordinating role in the project because nine states, and large number of community self interest groups, historical, and environmental interest groups creates a loose and difficult confederacy to manage and one too prone to mismanagement by an ineffective authoritarian… possibly even foreign special interest group with the phantom backing of shell organizations. We must agree that NPS should focus primarily on assisting interagency coordination, taking a lead role in overall interpretation, and providing general technical and funding guidance.

The W3R PO would play an important role in the operation and development of the W3R NHT. Among other functions, the PO would seek supplemental private funding support for operation and development of the trail. The PO would also play a key role as an advocate for educational programs, and would work to promote coordinated cultural activities, tourism, and economic opportunities along the Trail. The PO and the state congressional delegations must be united to ensure that a continuous level of maintenance and development funding is available.

The National Park Service would enter into written intergovernmental agreements with state, and federal land managing agencies within the W3R region. This agreement would articulate how each would participate in the project and would provide a formal framework for coordination. The agreement would define roles and responsibilities on matters related to education and interpretation, resource management, visitor facility development and operation, and research. Partnership agreements could be formed with local governments and private sector entities to aid in the management and operation of the W3R NHT.

It is recommended that the NPS not be given any authority by Congress to acquire land or promulgate new regulations as part of its management responsibilities for the W3R NHT. That would burden the NPS and decrease the responsibility and support of local and state support groups. Local or state governments and nonprofit organizations should acquire any parcels of land from willing private owners with highly leveraged state and federal financial assistance.

The federal government would fund a portion of the development and operating costs of the trail, including the National Park Service support staff. Initial funding for developing trail facilities identified through the comprehensive management planning process would be a joint responsibility of the NPS and other partner agencies at the state and federal level. Potential cost sharing funding sources such as TEA-21 enhancement funds and private sector support leveraged through local funding would also be explored.

Over a period of years, the business and employment revenue generated by increased tourism could offset the W3R expenses. Donations and grants from the private sector would continue to be sought for improvements.

Did the British Officer, George Washington Understand French?
Apparently Washington’s men knew that it was not uncommon for Washington to interrogate both French and Cherokee prisoners during the French and Indian Wars. In fact it is a sign of the pure ignorance of the revisionists of American history today that some believe engaged American warriors could not communicate with their allies, much less their enemies, during the American Revolution just as they do today. Here is a letter from Washington’s men who attempt to pre-empt an expected complaint from a British intelligence officer. You can find it in the Library of Congress at: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mgw:@field(DOCID+@lit(lw020062))

Virginia Regiment Officers to George Washington, June 19, 1757, Statement of Complaints Letters to Washington and Accompanying Papers. Published by the Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

We understand that Mr. Atkins has either complained or intends to complain to you that we had the Insolence to desire one of the Cherokee Warriours with the french Prisoner to come & drink a Glass of Wine with us, if it is so, we shou’d be very much obliged to you if you wou’d inform that Gentleman that as our Officers & Men risk’d their Lives in taking of the Prisoner we are entitled to speak to him when we please, Mr. Baker in particular imagines that without any Offence to Mr. Atkins he may take that Liberty, & we apprehend that whatever command he may have over the Indians he can have none over us–We can’t help observing that from the former Behaviour of Mr. Atkins that imagin’d he had been better acquainted with the Rules of good Manners than to send such a Message to Gentlemen who from their Station in Life their Births & Education ought to be treated with Respect–We are with great Esteem —

… Sir

… Your most Obedient Servts.
… THOS WAGGENER… and all the officers1

We are likewise inform’d that Mr. Atkins said that neither you nor any of us had a Right to speak to the Prisoner until he had done with him —